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Aging with dignity: resources for church-driven care

By May 19, 2017

United States (MNN) — The needs within the Church can vary from congregation to congregation. But Tom Lothamer of Life Matters Worldwide suggests there is one need that will continue to exist for all churches — the need to take good care of the aging. And it’s a growing issue in a culture where life is increasingly devalued.

He says, “One of the greatest struggles that the Church, especially, is facing today is the aging population. And, especially for those elderly loved ones who are facing dementia, they’re facing chronic and terminal illness, sometimes home-bound.”

Today we’re sharing an update on the LIFT program — a ministry of Life Matters Worldwide that we’ve talked about in the past. For a quick recap, Lothamer says it means Living in Faith Together and “is a ministry of the local church on engaging the people of the church into ministry of those who are elderly.”

Because this need will never go away, Life Matters is constantly looking for more and better ways to resource the local church. They have articles on care-giving, ministry, and biblical advice for seasons of struggle. They also have books available, helpful links, and blog posts — all to address the current and changing needs of taking care of the elderly. But more recently, Life Matters has added a new resource — videos.

These helpful videos cover a variety of topics: dementia, aging, assisted suicide, bereavement, and testimonies of people who have gone through the loss of a loved one.

“It’s a great resource for anyone, even young people if they want to understand the whole aging process and how do you minister to those who have been there a long time, but yet now they’re in the latter days of their life. How do we minister to them and care for them?”

Depending on where we are in life, it may be easy for some of us to remain untouched by this need for a good chunk of our lives. But Life Matters encourages the Church to get involved because, in doing so, we’re engaging in a very important discussion.

Lothamer explains, “It’s a really strong sanctity of human life ministry because we’re saying, even in the latter days of someone’s life, there’s dignity in that, and we want to demonstrate a love and a compassion for those who are facing that and say you’re not alone.”

The dignity Lothamer describes comes from the fact that we are made in God’s image. Lothamer says, “That means that we treat others as God treats us — as image bearers.”

It’s important to note this ministry should not be confined to church members, either. For, in meeting someone in their hour of greatest need with care, love, and compassion, a great impact can be made. At long last, someone who has lived their whole life without Jesus will get to experience the selflessness of the Gospel firsthand, and hopefully eventually find their rest in Him.

The LIFT program is being utilized in the Philippines and West Africa where Lothamer says it might be having even more of a Gospel impact than in the United States.

Get started

So, if you want to know how to get your church involved in this LIFT program, Lothamer says start by learning more about it at their website, here.

And then, he says, give them a call at 1-800-968-6086. They will be able to discuss your particular situation, your church, and how you might fit into the program. He says they can help you evaluate the top needs your church has for elderly care and provide the correct training resources.

“We want to provide opportunities for the local church to have a meaningful impact, not only within their body but even outside of their local church, so they can really address the sanctity issues in their communities.”

It is a growing need, he says, but with growing opportunities.

To see the resources offered, click here.

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